This is a recipe I use a lot when I don’t have many Indian veggies at home and I love using courgettes as they are similar to the texture of Ridge Gourd (Peerkangkai) which is traditionally used in South Indian cooking. My mother has used this vegetable and this Kootu recipe ever since I can remember as when we were young we didn’t have many Asian vegetables or we could not always make the trip to an Indian store. So as every clever Mother does, she had to make do with the vegetables available to her but I never felt that using courgettes (or Zucchini’s) was a compromise and still gives a great texture and flavour to this dish. I love it with Roti’s but it goes equally well with hot, white rice. In these pictures I have served the Kootu with Palak Roti’s which are Roti’s made with spinach and a few other mild spices.
What you need:
- Courgette, chopped into small cubes– 1 cup
- Yellow Moong daal – 1 cup
- Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
- Salt – to taste
- Water , 3 cups in total (but you may need to adjust this accordingly)
- Fresh grated coconut, – ¼ cup (you can use the frozen kind if you can’t get fresh)
- Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
- Green chillies – 1 or 2 (depending on your taste – but can be left out for toddlers)
- Black Pepper – 1 tsp
- Curry leaves – 1 sprig
- Oil – 2 tsp (I think Coconut oil gives such a great flavour to this dish)
- Urad dal – 2 tsp (this is more than usual but I feel this amount gives an amazing aroma and taste)
- Curry leaves – 2 or 3
- Dry red chilli – 1 (optional)
- Asafeotida – a pinch
How to make it:
- Wash the moong daal and then soak in 2 cups of water for about 10 minutes.
- Transfer the moong daal with the water into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Then add the chopped Courgettes and turmeric powder.
- Simmer until the Daal and Courgettes are soft and cooked through.
- Meanwhile add grated coconut, cumin seeds, green chillies, 1 sprig curry leaves together in a blender/Mixie and grind it to a smooth paste using a few teaspoons of water.
- Add the ground paste, salt, more water if needed to the Daal mixture and then simmer together for about 5 mins over low flame.
- Now for the tempering. In a small pan heat the oil and then add the curry leaves, dry red chilli (if using) and urad dal and roast for few seconds until the urad dal is golden brown.
- Finally add a pinch of Asafoetida and then pour all the tempered spices over the daal.
- Mix well and serve!
If you are short of time you can steam the courgettes beforehand in the microwave/hob and then use when you are ready. You just add the cooked courgettes with the ground coconut mixture (step 5)